Earlier this year I revealed that my word for 2023 was acceptance. I had been reading Michael SingerMy Surrender Experiment’s book The Untethered Soul and it reminded me of how important accepting the Is-ness of every experience was to living a peaceful and happy life. Also important is living in the present moment—not the past, not the future, just now. After a couple of months of practice, I’m not an expert and likely never will be. But I believe I’m getting better. As Singer continually reminds me/us, the problem is not the experience you are having or are witnessing. The problem is the story we are telling ourselves about the experience. It doesn’t matter if it happened two minutes ago or 20 years ago, that story running through our minds, that narrative, is either re-creating that event in our mind or emotions, or passing through us. By the same token, it doesn’t matter if something has happened yet (or will ever happen), the story we are telling ourselves about what might happen is our choice. We face that choice in every moment. Right here. Right now.
Of course, Singer doesn’t mean that we don’t pretend negative things aren’t happening—either moments ago, long in the past, or potentially in the future. It means that we have the ability to change the story so that it doesn’t irritate us, devastate us, or scare us. When we alter that story, we retain the ability to take an action not filled with anger, fear, victimhood, or revenge. We can choose to act in a way going forward that shows up in ways that we want to see in the world. Clearly, this isn’t easy. But I do get how empowering it is, as well as how beneficial it is to our mind, heart and soul. So instead of fighting with the circumstances that show up, the memories we carry around, or our fears for the future, we reframe them and take any actions that better suits our higher self.
As Singer continually reminds us, starting out with really challenging issues is difficult. That’s why he strongly recommends we go for the low-hanging fruit. For example, for the last several weeks I’ve been feeling like I should write another blog post. Why? Because the story in my mind is that I like writing and I want to keep my blog going far into the future. In the past I’ve told myself that to not post more regularly is bad. To succeed a blogger is supposed to consistently add content. I also accepted a book to read and review several months ago. I hoped I would be inspired to write something to share on the blog after reading it. Unfortunately, while the book was relatively interesting, I couldn’t come up with anything I wanted to write about so I kept putting it off. Still, because I tell myself it’s important for me to do what I say I will do, I knew I should write something about the book. That led me to not writing anything at all. Not doing either has been nagging me for a couple of weeks.
Notice how often the words “should” and “supposed to” or “it’s not fair” show up when we are listening to those voices inside our heads that we have been carrying around most of our lives? Maybe they came from our parents, our friends, people in authority? Who knows? They get planted in our minds and then the stories we tell ourselves often just regurgitate those stories regardless of whether they are true. Should, ought to, and I have to, etc. unconsciously guide our thoughts and actions without us being aware of why they are there or where they came from.
Today I sent an email to the publicist of the book I was offered and explained to her that I would not be writing a blog post about it. Just facing my hesitancy was necessary. Then I sat down and wrote out this narrative explaining my recent absence here on the SMART Living 365. Just so you know, I’m not going anywhere—so this blog will continue indefinitely. But unless I have something that I believe to be worthwhile to say, I’m not going to post. Every day, every moment I want to get better at listening to my inner promptings about what is true for me—and then follow through with that. I want to eliminate shoulds and supposed to and accept that following my inner guidance is my highest course of action. And most importantly I want to remember that “right here, right now” is the only real moment we have to deeply experience all that life has to offer. And it could be that is a SMART approach for us all.